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Student Research on the Becker Collection

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Shelia Gallagher and Judy Bookbinder of the Fine Arts department developed the Becker Collection website, a unique online archive of hitherto un-exhibited and undocumented Civil War era drawings that offer rich insight into history and culture of the 19th Century America. To integrate this material into their teaching, they worked with IDeS to develop another version of the site that would enable students not only to learn from the collection but also to conduct original research on the drawings.

The site contained a selection of unidentified drawings that students could select to research for their final project and a group blog where students could document their progress by sharing the highs and lows of their research. The blog also allowed Gallagher and Bookbinder to comment on posts with words of encouragement and suggestions of how to further their investigations, allowing them to intervene in the process in a timely and relevant way. The students' final projects produced real discoveries and gave them the experience of contributing to an emerging body of scholarship around this new material. Moreover, the instructors expressed delight not just that their students were more engaged with their research, but that they themselves were drawn into the excitement of the process by learning new things from what their students were learning.

Project Team

Content Direction and Development

  • Sheila Gallagher Dept. of Fine Arts (A&S)
  • Judy Bookbinder Dept. of Fine Arts (A&S)

Project Manager

  • Tim Lindgren Instructional Designer IDeS

Web Programming

  • Jamie Walker Instructional Web Producer IDeS